Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Eric Arthur Blair and George Orwell

Chandrahas Choudhury had a good review of a new book "George Orwell Critical Essays". Key paragraphs:

  • “If ideas are the “characters” of essays, then the main characters of Orwell’s essays could be said to be four heavyweights: freedom, socialism, totalitarianism and language. Just as no family ever agrees on any one point, these four ideas also never work themselves, in Orwell’s writing, into some clear and consistent pattern.
  • The strongest of Orwell’s stresses (and hence the easiest argument to reproduce) was against totalitarianism, both of the communist and fascist varieties. As early as any other observer of his time, he grasped how the Soviet state was far more evil than the system which it claimed to refute, and that its “management” of thought and opinion could only end up making automatons of both the bureaucracy and citizens.
  • We know well today the truth of Orwell’s argument that the organized deception practised by totalitarian states is not a temporary expedient, but is something integral to totalitarianism”.
  • Orwell’s interest in language as an instrument of politics—as a means not for expressing but “for concealing or preventing thought”—is what animates his most famous essay, Politics and the English Language. Here, Orwell’s attack on bad, overwrought or obfuscatory English is not made just as a writer. He also sees that such language can be a result not just of incompetence or laziness, but of a deliberate intent to distort or mask the truth. Orwell proves that it is often in the interest of the state to only pretend to be giving information or to be demonstrating intent, or empathy, or solidarity (he cites the classic bureaucratic cliche, “we will leave no stone unturned”).
  • Orwell’s argument is of course aimed against the state and against the peculiar jargon of ideologies such as Marxism, of which he was a relentless opponent.”

Greatness in India comes from appearing great, from externals

Aakar Patel asks Why Mayawati is casting her legacy in stone

  • “We could argue of course that Taj Mahal looks better than Dalit Dome. But that is a matter of taste. And to be honest, if foreigners such as Mark Twain weren’t so excited about the Taj Mahal, Indians wouldn’t have been this proud of it. Humayun’s tomb is just as beautiful but needs to be salvaged from ruin by the Aga Khan.
  • Mayawati will go down as a revered figure in history for Indians. We will have no idea what her struggle was like, what she stood for or what her rise to power meant to Dalits. Few Indians have read her autobiography and few ever will. Her corruption, her ugliness, her bad dresses, her appalling administration will be a footnote.
  • She is guaranteed to become great because Indians will be awed by her grand monument.”

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

'kuch mahol banta hai’

No no no no no!!! Don’t believe after all the present talks on climate change are political monks!! Talk.

Jairam Ramesh, the Union minister for Environment and Forests says:

  • The UN convention is really a talk festival. It is not a negotiating forum -- it is a forum where presidents and prime ministers of the world are going to make political statements and reinforce the consensus for arriving at an agreement at Copenhagen.
  • We are not even going to have serious discussions. As they say in Hindi, 'kuch mahol banta hai', an atmosphere will be created. But the real work is being done in the negotiating forum.
  • Of course there are difficulties we are facing. The US is finding it very difficult to make meaningful commitments on emission cuts for the year 2020. We are insisting on 2020 because in the year 2050, who knows, none of us are going to be around to be held accountable.
  • The EU has made an offer for a cut by 2020, as did Japan, but not the United States. But without getting into finger-pointing and the blame game, what I am trying to convey is that India has not caused the problem, but India wants to be part of the solution. India wants to be a deal maker and not a deal breaker at Copenhagen.

Thatcher’s children, Macaulay’s children in India

Deepak Lal has a good piece on emerging new India. Some excerpts:

  • “…..the 2005 Pew Global Attitudes Survey in urban India, which found that 71 per cent of Indians have a favourable view of the US, which in the 17 countries polled is only matched by Americans with a more favourable view of their country. Moreover, the popularity of the US has increased in India (as compared with other countries) with Indians being “significantly more positive about the United States now than they were in the summer of 2002, when 54 per cent gave the US favourable marks”. Indians also have a strongly positive impression of the American people — 71 per cent in 2005 as compared with 58 per cent in 2002 (2005 Pew Global Attitudes Survey,
  • The first one, led by Nehru (for whom English became their first language), sought the reconciliation through the purportedly middle way provided by Fabian socialism. The other (Gandhian wing for whom English was an instrumental second language) saw Westernisation as a grave threat to Indian traditions, and wanted no truck with it. They adopted the attitude of the clam. They eschewed modernisation to preserve the ancient Hindu equilibrium.
  • One of the major outcomes of the 1991 economic liberalisation was that, these children of the Westernised castes now increasingly find it easier to make a living in India. But they, by and large, still retain the attitudes to the US of their parents.
  • It is the changing attitudes of the Gandhian wing of Macaulay’s children which is crucial in charting the changing course of the Indian view of America. Till recently they were against globalisation and the modernisation it implied, seeing it as a threat to their Hindu culture as embodied in the BJP’s slogan of Hindutva. But as many of their progeny came to prosper in the new liberalised economy (particularly in the new IT and outsourcing industries), without any changes in their mores, this Gandhian wing of Macaulay’s children came to realise that there was a third way out of the old dilemma posed by the Western onslaught on their civilisation. A route pioneered by the Japanese in the late 19th century: to modernise but not Westernise. The same BJP which was burning former GATT Director General Arthur Dunkel’s effigy in Parliament Square in the late 1980s, by 2004 was fighting an election on a platform of the benefits to “India Shining” from globalisation.
  • Thus the cosmological beliefs of the fully fledged English-speaking Nehruvian wing of Macaulay’s children mirror those of their Western cousins. For the Gandhian wing English has remained purely instrumental. So their cosmological beliefs continue to be based on ancient Hindu mores. With economic liberalisation, both wings of Macaulay’s children have embraced the material beliefs associated with the processes of globalisation. This makes their former atavistic attitudes to America, decrying its materialism, redundant. As in the UK, with Thatcher’s children, Macaulay’s children in India no longer disdain American materialism and its pursuit of money. The growing embourgeoisement, with its accompanying erosion of aristocratic manners, has led to a more positive attitude towards America in both countries.
  • ….the anti-American and anti-globalisation rhetoric of the parties of the Left is going to become electorally unsustainable. Thebhadralok are going to find themselves overthrown by the sons of the soil from the mofussil towns whose material values are at odds with the various forms of socialism espoused by the Left, and whose social mores are still traditional. This means that the young, self-confident refurbished Gandhian wing of Macaulay’s children should be able to see India through to modernisation without Westernisation”.

The Dharma bums

Gurcharan Das on why be good?

  • “The only thing certain, the Mahabharata tells us, is that kala (time or death) is ‘always cooking us’ and that the truth about dharma is hidden in a cave.
  • After six years with the Mahabharata, I have come to realise that despite its dark, chaotic theme, and despite ironic reminders about how difficult it is to be good, the Mahabharata is able to snatch victory in the character of its unhero, Yudhishthira. He teaches that it is part of the human condition to also aspire. He shows that it is possible for good to triumph even in a time of cosmic destructiveness, making us realise that the theme of the Mahabharata is not war but peace.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Bruno Leoni- “Do not do to others what you do not wish others to do to yourself”

Professor F A Hayek on Bruno Leoni:

Excerpts from his 1968 lecture:

  • “Lovable and dynamic, he lived life with such an intensity that more than most men he seemed to embody life itself. By a cruel fate he was taken from us at the height of his powers when great accomplishments justified the expectation of even greater achievements.
  • In what follows I must confine myself to the three aspects of his work in which for some ten or twelve years our efforts had run parallel courses and where is consequence I had come to know him rather well. The first is his effort to overcome the departmentalisation of the social sciences and especially to bridge the gulf which has come to separate the study of law from that of the theoretical social sciences. The second is the effort to provide a satisfactory intellectual foundation for the defence of individual freedom, in which he so strongly believed. The third point will be certain important suggestions contained in his literary work which to me seem to point the way to the solution of some central intellectual difficulties of political theory, but where, since Bruno Leoni was not given time to work them out fully, it will be the task of those who wish to honour his memory to try to continue where he left off.
  • I first met Bruno Leoni fourteen years ago at the University of Chicago where I was then teaching and where he had gone, I believe, mainly to deepen his acquaintance with Anglo-American law and political institutions. We soon discovered on how many points our interests and ideal coincided and this brought him soon into that international organisation of scholars and publicists for the study of the conditions requisite for the preservation of individual freedom, the Mont Pelerin Society, which I had started a few years earlier and to whose affairs he was later to give so much of his time and energy. We again spent some time together almost ten years ago at Claremont College, California, at a seminar devoted to the problems of liberty, where he delivered that course of lectures on Freedom and the Law about which I shall have to speak more fully later. It was then that I first came to see Bruno Leoni’s capacity of inspiring an audience, his untiring readiness to discuss intellectual problems at every hour of day and night, and his general zest for life which made him grasp all opportunities for instruction and enjoyment which the environment of the moment offered. I may be permitted to mention here a little episode which occurred on that occasion. We lecturers at the seminar vere kept pretty busy and valued the three hours after the mid-day meal during which we had no definite obligations. When Bruno Leoni regularly disappeared during that period, we drew at first the natural conclusion. But how wrong we were! He had discovered an opportunity of taking flying lessons at a nearby aerodrome and spent at the controls of an airplane the hours we others used for rest!
  • He was, of course, primarily a lawyer and, I understand, highly successful as a practizing lawyer. But even with in the field of law he was as much a philosopher, sociologist and historian of law as a master of positive law. That he was also an eminent political scientist is perhaps only natural in a teacher of constitutional law as interested in the history of ideas as he was.
  • A glance at a list of Bruno Leoni's publications shows how varied his interests were. The list I have before me enumerates more than eighty publications of which more than seventy date from the last twenty years. Much of this is difficult of access to a foreigner and unknown to me.
  • It is particularly to be regretted that he did not find time to prepare for publication the suggestive and original first volume of his Lezioni di Filosofia del Diritto which deals with the thought of classical antiquity and which in 1949 he had issued in mimeographed form for his students. Especially his treatment of the relation betweeu physis and nomos in ancient Greek thought seems to me to contain much that would deserve development. From my incomplete knowledge of his writings it seems to me, however, that the one published systematic book of his, which is available only in English and Spanish, is much the most important of his works, both for what it explicitly says and even more for the hints it contains of further developments, problems it raises without fully answering them and which it now remains for us, his friends and admirers, to take up and to develop. In this chief contention it is so unconventional, and even directly opposed to much that is today almost universally accepted, that there is some danger that it may not be taken as seriously as it deserves or dismissed as a crotchety speculation of a man out of sympathy with his time.
  • It would perhaps be possible to distort the spirited account of his chief thesis in the assertion that the invention of legislation was a mistake and that the world would do better to renounce legislation altogether and to rely exclusively on the development of the law by judges and jurisconsults as has been true of the development of the ancient Roman law and of the Common law of England.
  • …the law which emerges from jurisdiction and the work of the jurists of necessity possesses certain properties which the products of legislation may but need not possess, but which are essential if individual freedom is to be preserved. He has explicitly brought out only some of those properties which judge-made law necessarly possesses but which all law ought to possess in a society of free men. He argues persuasively, and has convinced me, that although the codificatiou of the law was intended to increase the certainty of the law, it did at most enhance the short-run certainty of the law, and I am no longer sure that even this is strictly true, while the habit of altering the law by legislation certainly decreases its long-run certainty. He did show further that one characteristic of the rules of just conduct which emerge from the spontaneous process of law-finding was that these rules were essentially negative, rules aiming at the determination of a protected domain for each individual and as such an effective guarantee of individual liberty. As to many other profound thinkers the task of the law was to him not so much to create justice as to prevent injustice. And in his stress on the Golden Rule, “Do not do to others what you do not wish others to do to yourself” - a rule which, as he was fond of pointing out, Confucianism had in common with Christianity - he suggested an equally negative test of the justice of such rules by the consintent application of which we might hope progressively to approach justice.

Ideas, society and men in between….

The more I learn about society,

I realise, there is fewer cooperation among men.

The more I learn about nature,

I realise, there is imperfect cooperation among them, but they alone live,

No matter how dispersed are they.


In the society, everybody represents somebody on,

Some or other things at some point of time in their life,

Independent pundits who observes man’s action and nature’s impact at different ends,

Could tell you who represents whom in a society and for what purpose.


Long ago it was invented and is now universal truth that the human action is purposeful,

Children faculty are often said immature and it has no capacity to conceive ideas or anything and react purposefully, Vivekananda asked “who taught the children to suck out mother’s milk after birth”

Alas the adults are also on the same line in most of their life!

Fewer cooperation arise when men conceive by different means,

But by forgetting their common (end) goal- the freedom,

The word freedom represents two things- the best alternative in a given ideas, and that best alternative itself make best choices for human needs which will enrich them like anything!


What men learned from nature is abundant,

What men learned among them is fewer, even primitive!

What The State learned from society is fewer,

What The State learned from nature is fewer.


These are not collected from anywhere but for long mused within myself. Indeed, often I talk to myself on these lines.

Tell me what you think!!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Property Right to India Farmers

Sharad Joshi on “Land acquisition and resettlement and suggest property right is the final answer to all these allegations that The State has created.

  • “Many experts have suggested alternative forms of compensation and resettlement. These include: restitution of a part of the land to the owner after the development, or offering shares in the proposed industrial unit as part of the compensation, or promise of jobs to the children of displaced people, with appropriate arrangements for technical training.
  • The formulation of an appropriate and rational scheme for land acquisition and compensation for the land acquired is unnecessarily made complicated by such sophistry.
  • The solution can be much simpler if only, the powers that be recognise that the farmers are citizens of this Republic, have equal rights with all other citizens and have the right to carry on the vocation as also the fundamental right to acquire, hold and dispose of property that was granted to them by the original ‘Ambedkar’ constitution.
  • The problem of land acquisition has been further complicated by the looming drought and the threat of famine and food insecurity.
  • Any scheme for land acquisition must avoid reduction in the total land under cultivation. Any farmer who wishes, in spite of the gloomy prospects, to continue farming must have absolute immunity from any form of coercive land acquisition.
  • On the other hand, a farmer who wishes to discontinue farming must have the full freedom to dispose of his land to a person, at a price and time that suit his convenience.”

Choices in education

Manish Sabharwal says:

  • “………..the risk of sounding like an old crank confusing nostalgia with amnesia,
  • ……horrifying as these truths sound, educational institutions are not like Athena in Greek mythology who sprung fully formed from the head of Zeus—they need time and competition to mature.
  • The difficult choices of quantity, deregulation and fee freedom required of the education regulator are bound to horrify parents and policymakers but our situation is not very different from Winston Churchill in the Second World War who said: “I know the difference between right and wrong and I can tell good from bad. I also know the more difficult decisions come when we have to choose between good and better. But the toughest calls of all are between bad and worse”. Years of myopia and corruption in higher education force us to make the bad choice of quantity over quality because a worse choice would be to waste our demographic dividend. Effective and inclusive higher education will be the difference between a demographic dividend and a demographic disaster. It will also be the difference between busy children and restless or jobless youth. Most importantly, it could be the difference between peace with prosperity and crime with civil unrest.

Rule of Law and the purpose of Court

In an interview with Shekhar Gupta the eminent liberal lawyer Fali S Nariman said something which is alarming to legal community in India and their commitment towards rule of law the whole that operate in any country at the expense of tax payer’s money.

Shekhar Gupta: How do you reduce the workload on them?

Fali S Nariman: Very difficult. Because we entertain everything and I don’t blame them. Today the greatest problem with our courts, High Courts particularly, is the problem of caste. Because if you are such a such caste lawyer before such a such caste judge, you will either lose or win depending upon your caste.

Shekhar Gupta: Because they gave the political class a handle.

Fali S Nariman: Yes, they said you wanted us to do it. Quite frankly the law minister looked, if I may say so without meaning nay disrespect, a bit foolish when he had to withdraw the bill about protecting judges. All parties across the board said ‘No,no. No exemption for anybody. Let them disclose then we will see how it is to be done’. Infact, I think we have today the need of a judicial ombudsman, a judicial ombudsman, above the Chief Justice. Yes, maybe, above the Chief Justice.

Conclusion is yours!!

Are Colleges for beyond degrees?

Thomas Sowell on “Choosing The Right College don’t forget he is talking about US students. Just don’t compare India with that of US mentally after reading this particular piece. India is afar to think of the reference that Professor Sowell is describing.

Have look a bit from his article:

  • “Choosing the college that is right for a particular person is not about the rankings of institutions. It is about matching a student with an institution that can enable that person to flourish while there, and to graduate with an education that is a foundation for a fulfilling life in the years ahead.
  • Among the things you need to know about a particular college is whether it has a real curriculum or just a smorgasbord of courses, so that it is possible to graduate knowing nothing about history, economics or science, for example. Some of the most prestigious colleges in the country are places where you can graduate completely ignorant of such fundamental subjects.
  • What also matters is whether the intellectual atmosphere is one in which competing ideas are explored and debated, or one in which there is a prevailing orthodoxy of political correctness that a student can challenge only at the risk of being ridiculed by the professor, given a low grade or-- in some places-- suspended or expelled for violating a campus speech code by giving an honest opinion about things where an orthodoxy is imposed, such as issues involving "race, class and gender."

Can emission be cut without hurting growth?

The answer is never be yes or no but the emerging “Alternatives Are Simply Too Expensive” especially for the emerging markets.


Yes: The Transition Can Be Gradual—and Affordable

  • Consider this: From 1990 to 2007, while world emissions rose 38%, world economic growth soared 75%—emissions per unit of economic activity fell by more than 20%. Critics argue we can't possibly increase efficiency enough to hit the 80% goal. In a very limited sense, that's true. Efficiency improvements alone, like the ones that propelled us forward in the past, won't get us where we need to go by 2050. But this plan doesn't rely solely on boosting efficiency. It brings together a host of other changes, such as moving toward greener power sources. What's more, making gradual changes means we don't have to scrap still-productive power plants, but rather begin to move new investment in the right direction.

No: Alternatives Are Simply Too Expensive

  • “Proponents suggest that we give developing nations lower goals to start with, to help them catch up to the rest of the world. But some of the biggest developing nations—and biggest greenhouse-gas emitters—have indicated they won't accept any kind of cap. For one, India has been pretty straightforward for a long time: They'll think about emissions limits when they are as wealthy as the industrialized world is today. How many times do India and China have to say "no" to emissions limits before we believe them?

Man vs GOD or ED vs CD

In the 17 September 2009 issue of Mint there were two critical essays on Evolution of God (ED) vs Charles Darwin (CD). These are important piece to read no matter how you take these words into your mind and rethink it your own ways. Few excerpts from the essays:

Karen Armstrong says:

  • …life itself is the result of a blind process of natural selection, in which innumerable species failed to survive.
  • Human beings were not the pinnacle of a purposeful creation; like everything else, they evolved by trial and error and God had no direct hand in their making.
  • ……our understanding of God is often remarkably undeveloped—even primitive.
  • Darwin showed that there could be no proof for God's existence.
  • The Greeks called them mythos and logos. Both were essential and neither was superior to the other; they were not in conflict but complementary, each with its own sphere of competence. Logos ("reason") was the pragmatic mode of thought that enabled us to function effectively in the world and had, therefore, to correspond accurately to external reality. But it could not assuage human grief or find ultimate meaning in life's struggle. For that people turned to mythos, stories that made no pretensions to historical accuracy but should rather be seen as an early form of psychology; if translated into ritual or ethical action, a good myth showed you how to cope with mortality, discover an inner source of strength, and endure pain and sorrow with serenity.
  • The best theology is a spiritual exercise, akin to poetry. Religion is not an exact science but a kind of art form that, like music or painting, introduces us to a mode of knowledge that is different from the purely rational and which cannot easily be put into words. At its best, it holds us in an attitude of wonder, which is, perhaps, not unlike the awe that Mr. Dawkins experiences—and has helped me to appreciate —when he contemplates the marvels of natural selection.

Richard Dawkins says

  • Evolution is the universe's greatest work. Evolution is the creator of life, and life is arguably the most surprising and most beautiful production that the laws of physics have ever generated.
  • What is so special about life? It never violates the laws of physics. Nothing does (if anything did, physicists would just have to formulate new laws—it's happened often enough in the history of science). But although life never violates the laws of physics, it pushes them into unexpected avenues that stagger the imagination. If we didn't know about life we wouldn't believe it was possible—except, of course, that there'd then be nobody around to do the disbelieving!
  • It is an interesting, fascinating and, in many ways, deeply mysterious universe. But now, enter life. Look, through the eyes of a physicist, at a bounding kangaroo, a swooping bat, a leaping dolphin, a soaring Coast Redwood. There never was a rock that bounded like a kangaroo, never a pebble that crawled like a beetle seeking a mate, never a sand grain that swam like a water flea. Not once do any of these creatures disobey one jot or tittle of the laws of physics. Far from violating the laws of thermodynamics (as is often ignorantly alleged) they are relentlessly driven by them. Far from violating the laws of motion, animals exploit them to their advantage as they walk, run, dodge and jink, leap and fly, pounce on prey or spring to safety.
  • Now, there is a certain class of sophisticated modern theologian who will say something like this: "Good heavens, of course we are not so naive or simplistic as to care whether God exists. Existence is such a 19th-century preoccupation!
  • Tell the congregation of a church or mosque that existence is too vulgar an attribute to fasten onto their God, and they will brand you an atheist.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The shrinking universe

Bring back Jagannath Azad’s Pakistan anthem

  • (“Oh land of Pakistan, the stars themselves illuminate each particle of yours/Rainbows brighten your very dust”).

My last wish is to write a song of peace for both India & Pakistan: Azad

  • (Oh land of Pakistan each particle of yours is being illuminated by stars. Even your dust has been brightened like a rainbow." After Jinnah sahib’s death, a new song written by the Urdu poet Hafiz Jallundhari was chosen as the Pakistan’s national anthem.

Ramanujan or Tansen?

  • " types of intelligences could be seen in the human race: Verbal-Linguistic (related to words and language), Logical-Mathematical (related to numbers and logical analysis), Spatial-Visual (imagery and space), Bodily-Kinaesthetic (body movement and coordination), Musical (music, rhythm), Interpersonal (relationships, sensitivity) and Intrapersonal (self awareness and self actualisation). He had also suggested three more — Naturalist (related to nature and the environment), Spiritual-Existential (religion, philosophy) and Moral (ethics and human values). The last two — Spiritual and Moral — are considered too subjective, culture-bound and context-anchored for universal applicability and have been set aside, but Naturalist has been accepted as an area of intelligence, thereby resulting in a total of eight intelligences that are applicable to all mankind. The basic postulate was that each of us would have multiple areas of intelligence, some predominating more than others."

The real wealth

Robin Sharma on Seven wealth’s

  • I just gave a full-day seminar attended by managers and executives of companies like American Express, Infosys, The Gap and Dell. One of the ideas that many of the people in the room told me was most helpful was my "Seven Forms of Wealth" model that I've been sharing over the past year.
  • In my mind, wealth isn't just about making money. There are actually seven elements that you want to raise to world-class levels before you call yourself rich. I'll identify them. Inner Wealth: This includes a positive mindset, high self-respect, internal peace and a strong spiritual connection.
  • Physical Wealth: Your health is your wealth. What's the point of getting to a great place in your career if you get sick doing it? Why be the best businessperson in the hospital ward? Why be the richest person in the grave?
  • Family and Social Wealth: When your family life is happy, you will perform better at work. No one gets to the end of their life and regrets making their family their first priority. Related to this is the imperative of forging deep connections with friends and members of your personal community.
  • Career Wealth: Actualising your highest potential by reaching for your best in your career is incredibly important. Getting to greatness in your profession brings a feeling of satisfaction. Being world class in your work is good for your self-respect.
  • Economic Welfare: Yes, money is important. Not the most important thing but very important. It absolutely makes life easier. Money allows you to live in a nice home, take beautiful vacations, provide well for those you love and more to give away.
  • Adventure Wealth: To be fulfilled, each of us needs mystery in our lives. Challenge is necessary for happiness. The human brain craves novelty. And we are creative beings so we need to be creating constantly if we hope to feel joy. Lots of adventure is an essential element of authentic wealth.
  • Impact Wealth: Perhaps the deepest longing of the human heart is to live for something greater than itself. To be significant. To make a difference. To know that the world has somehow been better because we have walked the planet.
  • I invite you to focus on each of these seven elements if you want to experience real wealth. Money alone doesn't define being wealthy. There are many rich people who are unhappy and unsuccessful as human beings. By focusing on elevating all seven of these areas to world-class levels, you will not only shine ever so brightly for all those around you -- you will also find a contentment that lasts.

--Robin Sharma is the author of The Greatness Guide (Jaico)

Indira Gandhi’s brainchild was Tiger!!

Jairam Ramesh says:

“..He told the FM, “Dada, I need some money for Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) and Botanical Survey of India (BSI).” “How much do you need?” Mukherjee asked “I need at least Rs 15-20 crore for each of these institutes,” Ramesh replied. “Joyraam, this is the problem. Where is the money?” Mukherjee asked.

Ramesh, who had worked with Mukherjee as his Officer on Special Duty in the Planning Commission earlier, played his trump card: “Dada, both these institutes have their headquarters in Kolkata”. All that the FM said, beaming, was: “Oh, very good, very good.”

“In this budget I got Rs 15 crore each for the ZSI and BSI. I got another Rs 15 crore for Geological Survey of India. Incidentally, its headquarters too, is in Kolkata,” Ramesh grins. The prime minister was instrumental in allocating Rs 8,400 crore for the Environment and Forest Ministry in this year’s budget, up from Rs 3,600 crore in the 2008-09 budget, he adds.”

Origin of Money

Readings on Money: These papers are not like normal article or papers, but attacks the Austrian School of Economics and the School of Thought on Natural Law of Origin of Money!

1. A Refutation of Menger's Theory of the “Origin of Money”

2. The Nature of Money

3. Book Review: The Lost Science of Money: The Mythology of Money - The Story of Power.

Capitalist: Friedrich Engels!

Yes, I did say that, if you have not convinced read the below book review in Time.

  • “At the time of the American Revolution, Manchester, in northwestern England, was a market town of about 30,000 people in the shadow of the Pennines, in whose pretty valleys workers spun and wove textiles in their homes. When Friedrich Engels arrived from Germany to work at the mill of his family's company in 1842, the local textile industry had shifted from cottages to giant mills, and its products were sourced and exported around the world. The population of Manchester had exploded tenfold and Pennine hamlets had become towns in their own right. There were other cities, in England and elsewhere, that experienced the Industrial Revolution, but "Manchester," writes British historian Tristram Hunt in his superb new biography of Engels, "was something else."
  • Engels was just 24 — 24! — when he detailed that something else in The Condition of the Working Class in England in 1844, a work that is at once brilliant reportage and a sustained cry of outrage that makes Charles Dickens' Hard Times — which covers much the same ground — read like sentimental tosh. Not the least of Hunt's achievements is to show how what Engels saw in Manchester provided the essential factual underpinning for the theoretical work on capitalism that he and Karl Marx would later produce.
  • Truthfully, there would have been no Marx, and no Marxism, without Engels, and not just because the two of them formed an astonishingly productive intellectual team. First as a capitalist himself — after leaving England to dabble in journalism and revolution back in Germany, Engels returned to work in Manchester for 20 years — and then as a rentier, his money sustained Marx's family for decades. His devotion was such that Engels even assumed paternity of an illegitimate child of Marx.
  • Engels was not a hair-shirt socialist; he loved beer, good wine and pretty women, and was proud of his prowess at fox-hunting. He had a decency about him, marrying on her deathbed his longtime mistress. Hunt absolves Engels from the charge that would later be laid against him — that after the old man's death he perverted Marxism in ways that allowed others to turn it into an ideology of terror. Still, he was no saint. In the viciousness with which he and Marx attacked their enemies in the constant segmentation of 19th century radical groups, it is not hard to see the seeds that would one day produce a bitter harvest of perpetual suspicion and paranoia.
  • And there's the rub. When Marxism was transformed in the 20th century from a social theory to a set of guidelines for the conduct of state action, it became an evil, responsible for the deaths of millions and an intolerance that reduced the intellectual life of much of the world to a frozen stubble. With the pages of that narrative fresh in the memory, it is easy to read history backwards, and conclude that Marxism came into being with a livid birthmark that would disfigure it for ever.
  • But by being so careful to place Engels in the drudgery, squalor and dynamism of 19th century England, in the Industrial Revolution and the first great wave of modern globalization, Hunt enables readers to understand and share Engels' sentiments. In Manchester in the 1840s, men and women were treated like animals. Why then should we be surprised that the utopian dreams of early communists were so appealing, or be so certain that they never will be again?”

Other readings:

Marx's Engels, Monday, May. 11, 1936

The two famed dead men of whom present-day Germany is least proud are Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. ……..Marx, the Holy Ghost of the Soviet Trinity,

Marxism: The Persistent Vision

Friday, Jun. 13, 1969

Top 10 Ye Olde British Criminal Trials

The self-proclaimed gravedigger of capitalism

The Economist has started a new Column on the legendSchumpeteremphasizing his intellectual contribution to the well being of the world prosperity. His brief bio is here.

The inaugurating column is a good start but needs patience to realize his ideas. Read the full article below as it turns to muse in every angle except the evil of socialism and communism.

Taking flight

Sep 17th 2009

From The Economist print edition

  • This week we launch a new column on business and management. Why call it Schumpeter?
  • THERE is something about business that prevents most people from seeing straight. The rise of modern business provoked relentless criticism. Anthony Trollope featured a fraudulent railway company in “The Way We Live Now” (1875). Upton Sinclair dwelt on “the inferno of exploitation” in Chicago’s meat packing industry in “The Jungle” (1906). Muckraking journalists denounced the titans of American business as “robber barons”.
  • A striking number of business people accepted this hostile assessment. Friedrich Engels used some of the profits of his successful textile business to support Karl Marx, the self-proclaimed gravedigger of capitalism. Henry Frick’s last message to his fellow steel magnate, Andrew Carnegie, was “Tell him I’ll see him in hell, where we both are going.” Many of the greatest business people threw themselves into philanthropy to try to win back the souls that they had lost in making money. Anti-business sentiment is still widespread today. For many environmentalists, business is responsible for despoiling the planet. For many apostles of corporate social responsibility, business people are fallen angels who can only redeem themselves by doing good works.
  • But anti-business sentiment is not as pervasive as it once was, thanks to the Thatcher-Reagan revolution and the collapse of communism. Instead there is new irritation to contend with—the blandification of business. Companies are at pains to present themselves as warm-and-fuzzy global citizens. Politicians praise businessmen as job creators. The United Nations and the World Bank celebrate businesses as all-purpose problem-solvers. Nicolas Sarkozy makes a distinction between business people (who create things) and financial speculators (who wreak havoc).
  • Joseph Schumpeter was one of the few intellectuals who saw business straight. He regarded business people as unsung heroes: men and women who create new enterprises through the sheer force of their wills and imaginations, and, in so doing, are responsible for the most benign development in human history, the spread of mass affluence. “Queen Elizabeth [I] owned silk stockings,” he once observed. “The capitalist achievement does not typically consist in providing more silk stockings for queens but in bringing them within the reach of factory girls in return for steadily decreasing amounts of effort…The capitalist process, not by coincidence but by virtue of its mechanism, progressively raises the standard of life of the masses.” But Schumpeter knew far too much about the history of business to be a cheerleader. He recognised that business people are often ruthless monomaniacs, obsessed by their dreams of building “private kingdoms” and willing to do anything to crush their rivals.
  • Schumpeter’s ability to see business straight would be reason enough to name our new business column after him. But this ability rested on a broader philosophy of capitalism. He argued that innovation is at the heart of economic progress. It gives new businesses a chance to replace old ones, but it also dooms those new businesses to fail unless they can keep on innovating (or find a powerful government patron). In his most famous phrase he likened capitalism to a “perennial gale of creative destruction”.
  • For Schumpeter the people who kept this gale blowing were entrepreneurs. He was responsible for popularising the word itself, and for identifying the entrepreneur’s central function: of moving resources, however painfully, to areas where they can be used more productively. But he also recognised that big businesses can be as innovative as small ones, and that entrepreneurs can arise from middle management as well as college dorm-rooms.
  • Schumpeter was born in 1883, a citizen of the Austro-Hungarian empire. During the 18 years he spent at Harvard he never learned to drive and took the subway that links Cambridge to Boston only once. Obsessed by the idea of being a gentleman, he spent an hour every morning dressing himself. Yet his writing has an astonishingly contemporary ring; indeed, he seems to have felt the future in his bones. The gale of creative destruction blew ever harder after his death in 1950, particularly after the stagflation of the 1970s. Corporate raiders and financial engineers tore apart underperforming companies.
  • Governments relaxed their hold on the economy. The venture-capital industry exploded, the computer industry boomed and corporate lifespans shortened dramatically. In 1956-81 an average of 24 firms dropped out of the Fortune 500 list every year. In 1982-2006 that number jumped to 40. Larry Summers, Barack Obama’s chief economic adviser, argues that Schumpeter may prove to be the most important economist of the 21st century.
  • A prophet and a role model
  • The prophet of capitalism’s creative powers also understood the precariousness of the capitalist achievement. He pointed out that successful firms depend upon a complex ecology that has been created over centuries. He wrote extensively about the development of the joint-stock company and the rise of stockmarkets. He also understood that capitalism might be destroyed by its own success. He worried that a “new class” of bureaucrats and intellectuals were determined to tame capitalism’s animal spirits. And he warned that successful business people were always trying to conspire with politicians to preserve the status quo.
  • Naming this column after Schumpeter does not imply that we endorse everything he said. His ideas about long business cycles have not withstood the test of time. He was too sceptical about the case for using government spending to avert depressions. He underestimated the self-correcting power of democracy. Moreover, this will be a column about business and management, rather than finance and economics. But the champion of innovation and entrepreneurship surely got as close as anybody to identifying what a column on modern business should be about.

Prosperity by Road, not Literacy

Sauvik has a piece on “The road to trade and growth”

As I have earlier blogged here the key idea about road and prosperity is not to just worth note and give lip services whenever election come but needs rethinking in a wider prospective.

Sauvik writes “..the losses we suffer because of this “planned catastrophe”. Topping the list is the reduction in productivity for each of us. Productivity is measured in time. And a disaster of a transport system wastes time—the most important factor of production. The human engine can work only so many hours in a day. The more hours eaten up by transportation, the less there are left over for work and production. As Lord Peter Thomas Bauer famously remarked: “What limits growth in poor nations is not the limited capacity to export. Rather, it is the limited capacity to produce.”

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Arun Shourie, BJP and F A Hayek

I merely site some of the emerging order here, yet political, for the moral order we do not know how much time it will take India! If any one is familiar with Professor Hayek’s ideas know better that Mr Arun had misinterpreted Hayek idea of Rule of Law.

Arun Shourie said during the first Dhirubhai Ambani Memorial Lecture addressed by the then President Kalam “……..and I am just paraphrasing Professor Hayek on how law evolves — by exceeding the limits in which those restrictions sought to impound them, they helped create the case for scrapping those regulations, they helped make the case for Reforms.”

Take for example of ET letters:

  • “Mr M K Venu is right in his analysis (ET, July 15) of the effect of Arun Shourie’s remarks at the Dhirubhai Ambani Memorial Lecture and his so-called 180 degree turn (read, “a complete volte face”). He mentions his war, alongside S Gurumurthy, against Ambani, but sanitises it by saying that “Reliance had done something in excess of what it had been permitted to do”. Yet, the charge then was that Reliance had smuggled in its entire Patalganga plant.
  • Whether he had been right or not, Shourie is now in a bind: Reliance has survived him as well as Gurumurthy, leaving him to explain his past vis-a-vis the firm even as he conforming to today’s political order.
  • That explains why Shourie uses a technique that all demagogues employ: the idea is that a startling confession at the outset can excuse the most outrageous sayings. Reliance, once accused of breaking the law for its own gain, is seen to have laid the foundations of liberalisation, a la Hayek!
  • This is a misreading of Hayek. As Venu shows, Hayek argued against arbitrary official action that stultified commerce, or targeted some particular business. He instead argues for greater legal certainty as a foundation for the rule of law. He did not say it is permissible to flout the rule of law. That would not do in any civilised society. That Shourie said it is OK to subvert the law (if you are impelled by a higher purpose, albeit a well concealed one) is worth remembering.”

M K Venu said in his article in the ET

  • “Shourie then paraphrased what Austrian economist Freidrich von Hayek, the guru of most believers in free enterprise capitalism, had said: "by exceeding the limits in which those restrictions sought to impound them, they helped create the case for scrapping those regulations"

What the BJP Volunteers should be familiar with here is the list but to note take one: “Understand party ideology and propagate it. Have you read Pundit Deendayal Upadhyaya's philosophy of Integral Humanism ? Have you read the works of Savarkar, Guruji Golwalkar, Advaniji (My Country My Life), Arun Shourie, Vivekananda, Friedrich Hayek (Road to Serfdom), Edmund Burke (Reflections on the Revolution in France), Francois Gautier etc.

Consequence of the behavioural difference

Recently S. Gurumurthy published two articles in The Business Line on the US financial crisis and implications to India. These articles are very simple and lucid but the fact is that he blames everything for all at macro level. The worthwhile one which he has mentioned is the recent Economic Survey 2008-09 lack of analysis.

Some excerpts from his first piece:

  • "After attaining freedom, India began imitating the socialist Soviet republic from the 1950s and continued it till the Soviet sunset in the 1990s. Afterwards, like most others , it began copying the US, which emerged as the icon of market capitalism as Anglo-Saxon capitalism turned into a global monologue after communism fell. But, in less than two decades, as the year 2008 closed, the US has ceased to be the icon . For many, it is an object of scorn.
  • But with socialism already in the museum, there is no live global level alternative to replace the (f)ailing US-model of capitalism. Assume that, in the 1990s, there was no US-led capitalist alternative; the socialist order may not have collapsed at all; it would have somehow pulled along, like the (f)ailing US-led global capitalism does now.
  • It was the live alternative of US-led capitalism and its political cousin, liberal democracy, that hastened the socialist collapse. If socialism was the villain then, its alternative, US-led global capitalism, is the culprit now. Worse, the mess unleashed by socialist implosion of 1990s was largely restricted to the socialist world ; now the capitalist meltdown has messed up the whole world! That is why the likes of Japan, Germany and France emphasise local and regional models. Where does India stand in this debate?
  • The unbelievable cost of saving the US financial system bears the dignified label of “stimulus”. The total fiscal and monetary stimulus which, according to Bloomberg (31.3.2009), has been “spent, lent or committed” by the US Fed and the US Government so far, is $12.8 trillion! The amount of stimulus has “approached the value of everything produced in the US” in 2008. America’s GDP last year was $14.8 trillion.
  • This works out to $42,015 for every man, woman and — note — also child in the US; it is 14 times the $899.8 billion of currency in circulation. Out of this, till March 2009, $4.169 trillion had been used up. Included in this is the fiscal stimulus and other costs borne by the US government of $1.833 trillion."

From his second article

  • The core of any economic model is the rule and the mechanism of distribution of resources, particularly money. In the socialist model, the budget is the core; in the Anglo Saxon model, the market is the core."

Some warbite at Chindia dynasty

Prem Shankar Jha writes in Tehelka:

  • “In the Chinese worldview there is only one viable concept of the State – unitary, culturally homogeneous and necessarily authoritarian. Far from being a hangover from Maoist communism, the roots of this worldview go back two thousand years to the doctrines of Confucius and his disciples, as fused into a philosophy of state-society relations during the Han dynasty 2,000 years ago. It is now hardwired into Chinese thought. Communism only created a different set of sacred texts for the new mandarins to master, a new jargon to interact with the people. That is why its collapse in Europe found no echo in China. After crushing Tiananmen, all that Deng Xiaoping had to do was banish the imported texts and restore a modernised version of the originals.

The present controversy raised from the translated article published on “China Should Break Up The Indian Union'

Also read "Not Lost In Translation" by B.Raman

The Goenka- Shourie duo and F A Hayek

Shoma Chaudhury profile unfolds a hard fire in The Tehelka

  • “Shourie confessed to a “180 degree turn” on Ambani. For five years, as Indian Express editor, he and S Gurumurthy, an accountantturned- Goenka-confidante and an RSS man, had scorched Ambani for his corruptions. It wasn’t merely that Dhirubhai Ambani had imported an entire textile plant without paying customs, or that he was producing more than his permit, they tracked how the government was favouring him; how he owned shell companies; how he had both banks and politicians in his pocket; how, in short; he was subverting society.
  • Shourie sloughed off all those years of platinum outrage with cynical ease. As Disinvestment Minister in the Vajpayee government, he had already sold controlling shares of the giant government-controlled petrochemical company, IPCL to the Ambanis — creating a massive private monopoly. (Journalist Paranjoy Guha Thakurta argues that this itself was an intellectual dishonesty, coming from a man who had championed fair and free markets all his life.) Now at the lecture, taking refuge in economist Frederick Hayek’s argument that when rules ossify and become outdated, society starts violating those rules until conditions evolve where new rules come into play, Shourie claimed he had come to revise his view of the Ambanis.
  • (In an uncharacteristic and revealing moment of self-irony though, he confesses his friend Gurumurthy had once challenged him: “If Hayek is right, everyone can become a violator and say they are breaking laws for a better future. Who will judge which laws should be broken?” Shourie says only half-laughingly, “I told him, I’ll be the judge of that.”)

Forget inequality, Liberty will Triumph in its own course

In the Weekend Ruminations the Business Standard T N Ninan pose an interesting question but wrong conclusion and with wrong theory in head. So what is that question?

  • “Which country would a poor person like to live in? He has two options. In Country A, the average income per head goes up by 1 per cent each year, while that of the poor goes up by 1.25 per cent. In Country B, average income goes up by 3.5 per cent each year, but that of the poor goes up by only 3 per cent. It is easy to see what will happen over time in the two countries. In A, inequality will reduce and everyone will become more equal. In B, however, poverty will reduce much faster, even though the level of inequality will increase. So which of these two countries would a poor person choose?

The answer is known at least decades back as has been clearly pointed out by Professor Mises.

Cause be realised…….

Bite the politics from Mukul Kesavan words:

  • “Shourie is an interesting figure: an ideologue whose persona fuses intemperate polemic with mincing rectitude. He’s unique: There isn’t a person I can think of in contemporary politics who has been a crusading editor, a civil rights activist, a votary of the “hard” state, a forceful minister, a majoritarian demagogue and an inexhaustible compiler of albums of quotations glazed with rage and published as books.
  • ……Shourie carries so much published baggage. His book-length attempt to exhume Ambedkar the better to shred his reputation would be a liability in a political world where Ambedkar counts for more than Gandhi or Nehru.

The above description is right or wrong is altogether different question but it will confirm you on the first paragraph that he is a leader in ‘civility’. Read “Civility makes a champ, on and off the court” but never attempt to take this Court to The State, it will surly burry you a lot!!

Shourie’s recent long piece article published in the Indian Express certainly shows his credibility of being civility especially in society like ours. There is also a lot quote in his article which also unfolds itself.

There is something great civility in his first article where it begun by a quote:

  • “Arun Shourie has attacked the Chief Minister, A.R. Antulay because the latter has opposed America’s decision to give arms to Pakistan... Arun Shourie’s well-known connections with the American CIA... He was got a job at the World Bank... Since his return to India, he has been using the pretext of his son’s illness to regularly visit his bosses abroad. . .”

The answer is below:

  • “… only once after our child had been reduced to a handkerchief by the sedatives he was fed by doctors here and we were told to urgently take him to London.

Pretext? PRETEXT? My head screamed. Our son could not walk: thirty-four now, he still cannot. He could not stand: he still cannot. He could not use his right hand and arm: he still cannot. He could see only as if through a tunnel: that is still the limit of his vision today. He could barely speak: he still speaks syllable by syllable. And here were some swine who said his illness was a pretext that I was using.

Read the full articles

A few lessons

Turning a deaf ear

  • “….the number of cases, inquiries, raids, prosecutions, actions of various kinds that Rajiv Gandhi’s government instituted against The Indian Express exceeded three hundred and twenty — our conduct must be, it must for decades have been, immaculate. And the reason is not just that the Empire will strike back.

We must have no price...

A goal they cannot disrupt

  • “At all times, persons who fight for a cause are impatient to see the cause prevail. That impatience in a sense testifies to their commitment — that is the one thing they want, that their cause be realised; that it be realised here and now. But every change takes time — the deeper the change we want to affect, the longer it will take. For a long while, it seems as if all the effort that is being put in is having no effect at all. But, as Vinoba says, “The work that appears unsuccessful, after all only appears unsuccessful. The first few strikes for breaking a stone do seem to be useless and ineffective. But they do have their effect.”
  • When you seem to have lost everything, look for a toehold; when you think you have won a great victory, look deep inside it for the tiniest virus you are sure to find in it, that, if left alive, will fell you in time...

Friday, September 18, 2009

“The money was carried by the minority party onto the floor of the legislature”

"Singh undid what Nehru wrought, by bringing the power of the free market to an economy suffering from excessive government control. Obama intends to undo what Reagan wrought, by bringing the power of government control to an economy suffering from excessive freedom."

It’s not the dilemma everywhere, are they?

I had an opportunity to attend and listen to Mr Gurcharan Das’s lecture which he gave before the launch of his new book “The Difficult of Being Good On the Subtle Art of Dharma”

Mr Das read his lecture (with a link to two Rajus: one he encountered in a village in Tamil Nadu in the 1990s and another one is in jail now and almost everybody knows) which he later posted in his blog as Adam Smith's Dharma"

Some excrepts from his book published in the today’s The Hindu:

“I had studied the great books of the West during college but I had never read the Indian classics. The closest I had come was to take Daniel Ingalls’ Sanskrit classes at Harvard as an undergraduate. Now, 40 years later, I yearned to go back and read the texts of classical India, if not in the original, at least with a scholar of Sanskrit nearby.

What blacken our days are the insistent reminders of governance failure, hanging over us like Delhi’s smog. I am not only thinking of corruption in its usual sense — of a politician who is caught taking a bribe. My anguish comes from something else—from a recent national survey that found that one out of four teachers in a government primary school is absent and one out of four is not teaching. Another study found that two out of five doctors do not show up at state primary health centers and that 69 per cent of the medicines are stolen. A cycle rickshaw driver in Kanpur routinely pays a sixth of his daily earnings in bribes to the police. A farmer in an Indian village cannot hope to get a clear title to his land without the humiliation of bribing a revenue official. One out of five members of the Indian parliament elected in 2004 had criminal charges against him; one in eighteen had been accused of murder or rape.

It was a stray remark of the poet, A.K. Ramanujan, which finally pushed me to Chicago. “If you don’t experience eternity at Benares,” he said, “you will at Regenstein.” He was referring to the Regenstein Library with its fabulous collection of South Asian texts and its array of great Sanskrit scholars.

…moral blindness an intractable human condition, or can we change it? Some of our misery is the result of the way the state also treats us, and can we re-design our institutions to have a more accountable government? I have sought answers to these questions in the epic’s elusive concept of dharma, and my own search for how we ought to live has been this book’s motivating force.

If you have not read poet, A.K. Ramanujan’s works at least you should read one of his great and famous essay on “Is there an Indian way of Thinking? An Informal Essay”.

He thunders the reader’s throat to ponder the way in which he had described which is marvelous.

The Functional Dilution

A well know economist Bibek Debroy has a piece in today’s Indian Express on Unique Identification Authority of India. Its worth to read at least in two ways one he links with what the Present said in her 4 June Speech to Parliament and Secondly, more importantly, he links with one of the Chapters Nandan Nilekani wrote in his book published last November. Apparently that is the only book I read within a month after the release (as of now).

In way if anyone read all the national English newspapers in the last decade or so the book offers them nothing new. You take any issues-economic, political, social, environment, etc.

Important paragraphs from Bibek’s article:

  • “Getting rid of our phantoms: single citizen ID”. This section said, “India’s ministries and departments are also quite isolated, with separate fund flows and intricate, over-hyphenated authority levels. As a result these systems require paperwork-choked processes each time citizens approach the state... Creating a national register of citizens, assigning them a unique ID and linking them across a set of national databases, like the PAN and passport, can have far-reaching effects in delivering public services better and targeting services more accurately. Unique identification for each citizen also ensures a basic right — the right to ‘an acknowledged existence’ in the country, without which much of a nation’s poor can be nameless and ignored, and governments can draw a veil over large-scale poverty and destitution... No one else can then claim a benefit that is rightfully yours, and no one can deny their economic status, whether abjectly poor or extremely wealthy... A key piece of infrastructure that must sit on top of an interconnected grid is the electronic flow of funds... Linking smart cards to such accounts can open up the banking system to hundreds of millions more people.”
  • Paragraph 13 of her June 4 speech to Parliament stated, “The Unique Identity Card scheme for each citizen will be implemented in three years overseen by an Empowered Group. This would serve the purpose of identification for development programmes and security.” Some Cassandras did wonder about paragraph 32 of the same speech, where it said, “Targeted identification cards would subsume and replace omnibus Below Poverty Line (BPL) list. NREGA has a job card and the proposed Food Security Act would also create a new card.”
  • here is a person who not only has impeccable credentials, but also believes passionately in the single ID business. He should be able to bring about the third most important transformation, M.S. Swaminathan and Sam Pitroda being architects of the first two. I wonder why Nandan Nilekani used the expression phantoms in his book.
  • A phantom is an apparition, a spectre. Whenever I hear the word phantom, I think of The Phantom of the Opera and Lee Falk’s The Ghost Who Walks. No one reads the comic strip now. But since Nandan Nilekani and I are roughly of the same age, I am sure he must have devoured Kit Walker’s escapades once upon a time. The point about the ghost who walks is that he never died, his successors carried on the phantom’s role. By that token, we will never get rid of our phantoms and we will never have a single citizen ID. Those ministries and departments will never give up their turfs and their silos. Wasn’t that what the president was hinting at in paragraph 32?
  • Paragraph 64 of Pranab Mukherjee’s budget speech stated, “The setting up of the Unique Identification Authority of India is a major step in improving governance with regard to delivery of public services. This project is very close to my heart... The UIDAI will set up an online data base with identity and biometric details of Indian residents and provide enrolment and verification services across the country. The first set of unique identity numbers will be rolled out in 12 to 18 months. I have proposed a provision of Rs120 crore for this project.”

Stories of Democracy

Brahma Chellaney’s musings:

  • …For long, democracy and free markets were touted as the twin answer to most ills.
  • ..Asia, only a small minority of states are true democracies, despite the eastward movement of global power and influence.
  • ….authoritarianism is deeply entrenched, a marketplace of goods and services simply does not allow a marketplace of political ideas.
  • China holds no elections to elect its leaders, not even sham elections.
  • ..Even if democratic governments are not more wedded to peace than autocracies, it is well established that democracies rarely go to war with each other.
  • ….the main challenge to the global spread of democracy comes from the model blending political authoritarianism and state-steered capitalism together. What if such authoritarian capitalism becomes the face of the future in large parts of the world?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Dr. B R Ambedkar was against Government Monopoly of Issuing Money!!!

As I earlier blogged here this is really shocking information that Dr. B R Ambedkar was in favour of Free Banking!! As for as issuing and managing of Money is concerned!!

In his memorandum given to The Royal Commission on Indian Currency and Finance which had visited India in 1924-25 to examine the financial system and to suggest the Reform of the Indian currency, he pointed out:

“……a managed currency is to be altogether avoided when the management is to be in the hands of the Government. When the management is by a bank there is less chance of mismanagement. For the penalty for imprudent issue, or mismanagement is visited by disaster directly upon the property of the issuer. But the chance of mismanagement is greater when it is issued by Government because the issue of government money is authorised and conducted by men who are never under any present responsibility for private loss in case of bad judgement or mismanagement.”

He also believed that:

  • “Any plan of currency to be sound must be both economical and secure.
  • ..the Gold Standard must be accepted as the only system of currency which is " knave proof "and "fool proof."

Anti RBI or Choice in Currency

Indian Economist Dr.Ajay Shah has been pushing to reform the Reserve Bank of India for quite some time. In way there are no too many supporters for him, of course it is matter of time. But the current proposal that he has been thinking is also in right direction. Though, I don’t agree with him in everything thing.

In his recent piece he has written something which the liberals don’t agree in it entirety. But it shows ways to approach The State to take out of its nose from smelling the issuing Money! Bone!

Take for example:

He says “The Indian monetary policy debate is about the key ideas of the successor to the RBI Act of 1934, which was drafted by the British in the 1920s. The authors of this act never envisioned the conditions of 2009, either in terms of the Indian economy, or our knowledge of monetary economics. In this debate, RBI staff are interested parties and have to recuse themselves.

Read recent Ron Paul interview (see Anti-Fed Activists Fuel Push for Audit)

India yet to realise RBI damages in “Real Time Economics

The political class cares a damn about our money

Next couple of post will focus on The Money and its uses in people’s lives. The pattern of use by the politician and The State are also on table.

Here some bits from rediff news here.

  • “In 2008 under the Right to Information Act activist Dev Ashish Bhattacharya unearthed from the Food Corporation of India in writing that more than 1.3 million tonnes of foodgrains had rotted while in storage over the past decade. The FCI is responsible for the procurement and distribution of foodgrains across the country.
  • Bhattacharya was told by the FCI that almost 50 per cent of the foodgrains was damaged in Punjab one of the leading states in agricultural production where no one has heard of floods or natural calamities.
  • If the food wastage is controlled, it can feed more than a million hungry bellies.”